What do you know about the “others” who lived at Monticelllo? How would it have felt to be part of the Hemings family, wondering about your physical features and why you were treated differently from many other slaves? Volumes of history and biography have recorded Thomas Jefferson’s life and works. Some call him “Democracy’s Champion.” Countless persons have visited his unique home, heard of his daughters, his grandchildren. More people are learning about his second home, the Natural Bridge, and the Peaks of Otter. Many readers know of his slave, Sally Hemings, and recently about her descendants; few are aware of her parentage. Nor have many been informed of the contributions of her brother, John Hemings - his great talent as an artisan in wood. Virginia law decreed that slaves should not learn to read and write, yet there is tangible evidence they did. Jefferson’s personal Library was a source of much pride and satisfaction to him; would members of the Hemings family have known about these books? How are all the above individuals connected to the War of 1812?
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